They meet at a book launch. She is a junior editor at an established publishing house; he is a general surgeon in a university hospital. The event marks the publication of a colleague’s memoir. She has nothing to do with the project; he loathes the author.
He is happy to accommodate her other lovers, of whom she keeps a consistent number. She is happy to work around his wife, of whom she assumes there is a normal number, and whose existence she infers from the obvious. The first time he arrives at her door he brings a bottle of wine, acquired in haste from the local store. She indicates she has no need for such a gesture. He never repeats it.
After a month he lingers at the door a fraction too long. She asks him why. He closes his eyes, and she notices his knuckles whiten on the